The device, called, HUD 3.0, will project critical data onto a soldier’s field of view
U.S. Troops to Test Augmented Reality By 2019
The U.S. Army is set to test its first augmented reality system sometime in 2019. The system, called HUD 3.0, will allow soldiers to quickly figure out where they are, where the rest of their unit is, and where the enemy is. The heads-up display (HUD) is designed to allow soldiers in combat to orient themselves in the fight and rapidly come up with a plan to defeat their enemies.
According to Breaking Defense, the U.S. Army is developing a helmet-mounted system designed to project important data onto a soldier’s field of view. The augmented reality concept is based on the heads-up display used on fighter planes. Introduced in the late 1970s, HUDs project key information such as speed, altitude, heading, radar mode, and available weapons onto a fighter pilot’s field of view, allowing the pilot to keep his or her eyes on the skies.
The Army wants HUD 3.0 to work similarly, keeping track of a soldier’s location, the location of friendlies, and other key information. The system would do away with the need for soldiers to use a map to figure out a unit’s location, requiring compasses to determine direction. Speeding up the information-gathering process would allow soldiers to proceed to the next stage—making plans and carrying them out—faster than the enemy.
A previous Army project, HUD 1.0, is already in service. HUD 1.0 is the Enhanced Night Vision Google III, a weapon-mounted thermal sight that projects the weapon’s field of view—as well as the aiming point for a M4 carbine—onto a helmet-mounted monocle. Using HUD 1.0, soldiers can fire from behind cover without exposing themselves to enemy fire. Breaking Defense reports the service is skipping 2.0 due to the sheer technological leap that 3.0 provides.
Army engineers are partnering with an “unnamed industry partner” to develop HUD 3.0 at a rapid pace. One of the biggest potential problems is bombarding soldiers with too much data, crowding their field of vision with useless information. Another is making the helmet mounted displays “soldier proof,” or tough enough withstand the rigors of field use.